The Offensive Absurdity of the NFL Combine

Guys,

Can you two just give it a rest? The only thing more grating than people who take the NFL combine too seriously is people who take themselves too seriously complaining about it.

Sure, the combine is a high-dollar meat market. Yes, the system is a little creepy and sometimes silly. But the combine is a chance to talk about football even in the dead of winter. So what's the harm? Better yet, the combine is an absolutely glorious example of the NFL's genius for turning absolutely nothing into national news.

Make fun of the 40-yard dash and the dumb interview questions all you want. If you are an NFL executive who is considering giving a kid a contract worth millions of dollars, it makes sense to get all the information you possibly can—however useless anyone else may deem it.

The combine is an absolutely glorious example of the NFL's genius for turning absolutely nothing into national news.

But what's really remarkable is that the interview itself can be an engine for stirring debate. Some NFL player-personnel guy happens to ask a prospect an inappropriate question about sex. Bam! Suddenly it's time for the country to have a conversation about gay athletes in sports. Wow. In other words, the NFL setting the agenda as always.

There's more combine to come as well. According to the NFL Network, plans are underway to give the combine a reality TV-based format. Those 40-yard dashes you guys hate? They could be turned into races between draft prospects, as they compete at regional combines for a spot at the big event in Indy.

The show wouldn't only be about vertical leaps, either. A TV program about the combine that told real stories about young men trying to live their pro football dreams could make for incredibly compelling stuff. Who knows, one day the show might even have an openly gay player trying to make the league? And wouldn't that spark a little debate? Guess what? I'd watch. Last year's record combine viewership of 6.51 million would probably watch with me. And, don't even lie, you guys would be watching too.

–Hampton

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Sports Roundtable

Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens 

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